The Concept of the Network
The concept of the status quo is central to any simulation, as you read earlier. Another central concept to any simulation is a network. A network is “an interconnected or interrelated chain, group, or system” (Merriam-Webster (Links to an external site.)).
Example: Your Social Network
For example, a social network consists of you, your family, your friends, and your colleagues. Below is a visualization of this social network.
But, is your social network limited to just your family and friends?
No, your social network extends to the family of your family, or the friends of your friends, or the colleagues of your colleagues. Now, if this is the case, how would the above network image change?
There are several ways the network would change, for example, include:
- From your Mother we can add a line to her sister (or your Aunt).
- From your New Friend, we can add a line to her Father (or your new friend’s Dad).
- From your POSC Professor, we can add a line to his former employer a U.S. Congressman (or my Professor’s old boss)
- From your Writing Tutor, we can add a line to her boss (or the Writing Center Director)
Networks are all around us, and it is important to recognize that you a part of a network.
Example: An Economic Network
Another example is an economic network. Below is a visualization of an economic network as operationalized by the Caterpillar Inc.
The economic network depicted above involves Caterpillar Bulldozers (Links to an external site.). I use this as an example because my 2-year son is interested in these objects.
Now, these bulldozers don’t just appear out of thin air. They are manufactured by the Caterpillar Inc. (Links to an external site.).
However, Caterpillar Inc. may have economic or business relationships with “makers” of components of the Caterpillar Bulldozer.
For example, Caterpillar Inc. may have relationships with steel makers, engine makers, tire makers, and drive system makers. These makers manufacture specific components that the Caterpillar company contracts for.
This is another example of a network.
Example: U.S. Trade Network
Trade is a popular topic in US Government and Politics. The salience of trade is pronounced during times of political conflict between leaders of countries.
Trade consists of imports (items brought into a country) and exports (item sent out of a country).
The United States trades with almost every country in the world. The following document shows
You will observe that the document does not feature a “fancy” graphic of a network, like the examples of Your Social Network and An Economic Network have. Rather, the information is presented in table format.
Assignment – Part 1: Draw a Network of your 4 Selected Political Actors
On a sheet of paper or using computer software (like SmartArt in Microsoft Word or Graph Commons (Links to an external site.)), draw a network of the Political Actors you chose from the prior assignment.
When you connect one actor with another actor, note whether the relationship is positive (use a plus + sign) or neutral (use a 0) or negative (use a minus – sign).
Take a picture of your paper and upload the picture. Or, if you are using computer software, you can take a screenshot and upload a picture or upload a file.
Assignment – Part 2: 5-sentence explanation of your network
After you have completed drawing your network, write a 5-sentence explanation of your drawing. Here are some questions to consider to help your write an explanation:
- Why is the connection between two actors positive?
- Why is the connection between two actors neutral?
- Why is the connection between two actors negative?
The four political actors i chose were:
-US House of Representatives